Thursday, September 6, 2012

This Little Bird

5 years ago, I peacefully sat at my dining room table one night drawing this little bird.

I had no idea what the next week held for me, and that it would shatter my world. While I drew this little bird over and over, obsessing about the tail not being the right angle, erasing and redrawing and erasing again, I had no idea that in such a short amount of time, the man I loved and planned to marry would be killed suddenly and tragically by my neighbor.

While I sat and drew this little bird, I felt safe in my house. I had no idea that in just one week, the house would become a place of horror, memories and nightmares that would haunt me for years. While I drew this little bird I never imagined I wouldn't feel safe in my house, and would never draw another little bird at that table again.

When I drew this little bird, I thought I had everything, and I did. A man who loved me and wanted to share his life with me and me with him, a career path for myself, a house I owned and the plans to remodel it... I had no idea that in a week after drawing this little bird, that I would be broken into a million pieces. I had no idea that I would be unable to fully pull the pieces of myself back together and become me again for years.

When I drew this little bird, I had no idea what journey lay ahead of me, and I definitely didn't know that this little bird would leave me, and her journey would be so much different than mine.

After the night Carter was killed, I was still in shock at the police station, while this little bird sat in a pile of drawings on my dining room table. The end of Carter's life, and my life as I knew it, was the beginning of this little bird having a life of her own. That day, while grief's hands ripped at my chest and stomach, this little bird was found and freed. I always thought she would stay with me, as part of me, but when I was too weak to stand, someone took her and promised her a better life. I don't blame this little bird... I was a mess at the time.

The next few years I wandered aimlessly, searching for signs and clues in nature and all around me to tell me to live, and why I should want to live. Simultaneously as I wandered, unbeknownst to me, the person who promised this little bird a better life had bigger plans for her than just me; a wreckage of tears.

This little bird was copied and put into frames with lyrics of Carter's and given out to those around her, but not me... Even though I'd been promised one of these cherished items, I never received one. That's when I knew this little bird had begun to change, and left me in the dust.

She must have sensed my weakness and thought she could fill the role I was too "emotionally unstable" to fill. This little bird became tired of just being "Ryann's" little bird, drawn with pencil on paper. She wanted to be much bigger than that.

I would have never guessed that this little bird would become so many things. So many of the things she became I only found out about through other little birds telling me long after the fact.
While I searched for myself and sense of security, this little bird was given wings, became a tattoo, a company logo, a name for a horse, a concert poster, and then came full circle to raise money for a foundation started in Carter's memory.

This little bird must have sensed that I was too weak for the task. So she became the symbol for my idea born in the aftermath, of my grief, that I had shared with the person who lured her away. My idea to take pieces of Carter, his guitar strings that he had loved and touched, and make them into something tangible I could wear and hold on to. Instead, this little bird taught me that nothing tangible lasts forever.

It's 5 years later. I'm not broken anymore. I still love and miss Carter everyday. He and I delighted in this little bird together. Even though I wish I was included in memorials to him, I take some satisfaction in knowing that this little bird I drew, well before I knew grief, has taken on a life of her own and is very front and center in his memory, even if I'm not.

So I left this little bird behind, but always had my eye on this bird from afar. I moved on and forward with my head held high and his love and memories tattooed on my heart. I have a new love of my life, he is 3 and makes my heart smile everyday: I am a mother now. I have plans for my future, but I know not to trust in plans too much. I know that there is no boring in life. The moments where nothing is happening are peaceful and the most beautiful moments of all. I no longer take those moments for granted. I've found me again. I'm strong again. Strong enough to tell everyone that this is my little bird, and I'm ready for this little bird to claim me too.

I'm so proud of this little bird, and all she has accomplished. I'm sad she felt the need to shut me out and pretend like I didn't create her with love and care. This little bird left me in my darkest days to pursue her desires without even a postcard from her journey.
This little bird broke my heart, but at the same time, this little bird has made me proud to say, "she's mine!"

Friday, July 20, 2012

People With Guns

I haven’t commented on the tragedy in Colorado. I haven’t wanted to read the news. I have an obvious aversion to news stories where someone is senselessly shot and killed. But after finding one a victim (shot, but alive), is a family friend, I feel like I should say something.

There is no excuse for this. My heart breaks for the victims, the families and the survivors who will be haunted by the their terror and the horror they witnessed. My heart, prayers and love are being sent their way. There’s no excuse that this murderer’s (I won’t say his name and give his name fame or infamy) friends & family didn’t see this coming. There’s no excuse that someone like the murderer had access to those kinds of weapons.

I hate guns. I don’t they should be completely banned, but I think that most people out there don’t need to own even one gun! Why did this murderer have access to that kind of weaponry when so many people can’t even afford health care or have access to basic human needs?! It’s sad, infuriating and incidents like this are the result of poor judgement that is a common theme in our country’s politics. Both sides. *soap box dismount*

And from the twitterverse:

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Twitter has really taken the place of my blogging...

... but it shouldn't... blogging is more thought out, more creative and better all around .. (at least for me in a selfish way)... twitter is like a blurb, an immediate thought... one which (sometimes) I can't wait until it's too far to scroll down to read. Twitter is about the mundane boring details... I have expectations for my blogs: I expect them to be funny, witty, clever or insightful... maybe I ask too much of my blogging in this Twitterverse kinda world.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


We just bought a really great and thoughtful book called "Rules For My Unborn Son" It it filled with great advice for more than just boys, but men and women too... One of the "rules" was that everyone should memorize their favorite poem.

What's your favorite poem?

Mine is: If by Rudyard Kipling:


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I used to be funny... I swear

I wrote this, 4 or 5 years ago... when I was more naive and definitely more intoxicated:

Dearest Jagermeister,

I'm sorry to end our relationship in a blog. I know that we have history together, but I feel that we have finally grown apart, and now must part ways and move on.

I'm not ending this relationship because I've found another more tasty shot, and don't think I would replace you with Tuaca (which I know has been done to you before). I don't even like Tuaca! There is no other shot I would rather take than you, with exception of the occasional Tequila shot.

I remember when we first met, before Jager machines and bombs catapulted your popularity to drinkers in all demographics. I loved your ice cold herbal liqueur shots, and the fun times that followed. I loved your green glass bottle, and even the funny German name.

I have fond memories of the way things used to be and moments we've shared:

Like the time when my dear friend and I drank an entire bottle, out of itty-bitty blown glass shot glasses (the size of thimbles) that my sister made.

In Miami, when we decided to swim in the ocean at 4am after clubbing together... so much fun! It was unfortunate that I was the only person who was stung by a jellyfish minutes later, but nevertheless you helped make the experience a teeny-weenie bit less painful.

You encouraged me to keep trying to beat the high scores in Word Dojo and General Trivia, and I finally did.

Good times ... ah ... good times ...

But lately, things have not been the same between us. I don't have any good recent memories of time spent with you. Actually, I don't remember anything at all! My only memories are made secondhand, the next day, when I check my drunken text messages and look through my dialed calls. It didn't used to be this way.

You don't treat me the way you used to, and I think we both know this is true. We've finally grown apart. Know that I'll always remember the good times... well, at least the ones I can remember.

I wish you the best,


PS. I'm keeping your hat (the one with your logo)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day

3 years ago, if you would have told me that I would be a mother of an 18 month old, I would have laughed in your face, "NO WAY!" There is no way I could have possibly imagined the path that life has taken me.

Four years ago, after suffering the sudden and tragic loss of the love of my life, I was searching.... searching for life, searching for clues... searching for myself, searching for a reason to want to live. I drove across the country and back. Along the way I was partying way too much... I was smoking cigarettes by the carton, drinking, popping pills, anything to keep me from feeling like a part of real life.

I had just decided to move to a new city. I had just signed the lease to a cute studio apartment, I was two weeks away from moving. The last thing I was expecting was to be expecting... and then it happened. My body was acting a little funky, so on a whim I decided to take a pregnancy test. It was IMMEDIATELY positive. Like an out-of-body experience, I stood there... holding the test... I could barely even read the results because my hand was shaking so badly. I felt weak. I felt like I was going to faint. So, I popped a Klonopin and made the phone call.... "I'm pregnant." That was just a little over two years ago...

Now I have this perfect little man, this little being in my life who is the love of my life. I have this little family that I love so very dearly. I have found life again. I love being a part of life again. Being a mother has changed my life for the better, I take better care of myself, because I want to make sure I can be there for him to provide him with the best life possible. I look into his eyes and I find the strength that I never knew I had, and I find love that I never knew I'd ever be able to experience, on a level that I never even knew existed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I know I've talked about my unfortunate love of Crocs before...

Yes... it's true.

I always hated the shoes, thought everyone looked ridiculous wearing them, unless they were really old, or little kids... And then, one day 4 years ago, it happened:

I was about to go outside barefoot and a pair of Croc flip-flops were by the backdoor. So, I slipped them on and.... BOOM! They were the most comfortable flip-flops I had ever had on my feet. It was like walking on two perfect orthapedic clouds made just for me... and I unfortunately fell in love.

But those were flip-flops, I told myself, not the Croc-y Crocs that you see people wearing in ridiculous colors that I would NEVER wear. Little did I know, that the flip-flops were the gateway drug of Crocs... after about a year I bought a pair of brown real Croc-y Crocs... I told myself and other people that they were my "studio shoes"... I mean, what artist doesn't need a good pair of studio shoes??? Right?! Riiiiiight...

Having "studio shoes" was just a slippery slope to wearing them all of the time... They became the easy shoe to slip on whenever I had to go anywhere... I became one of THOSE Croc wearing people... and I didn't even care, because my feet were so happy... after a lifetime of uncomfortable cute shoes, my feet were SO happy.

I wish I could say that my addiction to Crocs stopped there... but that would be a lie. I even went to a Croc outlet store and bought Croc Maryjanes... I justified this purchase to myself and thought, if I was going to wear Crocs everyday, it'd be better if they didn't look so Croc-ish...

I wore both pair all through out my pregnancy, and post baby too... and then one day I decided, it was time to step up the wardrobe. So, I sold the Mary Janes at a garage sale (lucky bitch), and I decided to keep the "studio shoes" for gardening... (yeah right)...

This is where divine intervention must have taken place, and now those shoes have magically dissappeared... gone forever... Which is probably for the best... I know it is.

But the whole point of this LONG Croc story is, I decided to buy some Crocs for my little guy. Little kids look so cute in them and they are so easy to put on... it doesn't matter if they get wet... ya know...

So finally, they arrive in the mail, and I go to put them on his feet and he screams and cries in horror!

MY BABY HATES CROCS!!! What??? I'm so confused... they are so comfortable, they are so easy... and yet he cries and tugs at them and wants to get them off as fast as he can...

My kid is so much cooler than I'll ever be...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Praying for Japan

I thought about blogging, about the little idiosyncrasies of the day:
Like blogging about how someone stole my debit card info and tried to use my card, or about how I can't believe the CVS by my house is only open till 10 pm, or about how scared I was taking my little one to the dentist for the first time...

And then I think about Japan. I see the videos of the tsunami, and my heart breaks for Japan, and the people effected by the earthquake, tsunami and now the fear of radiation from the nuclear reactors...
and when I see videos like this one, I'm speechless:

How can I bitch about everyday life when my everyday life is normal!?

I still have a house, a city, a child to take to the dentist... I feel so fortunate that for today, everyone I know and love is safe and sound. I know firsthand how fast that can change... So, today, I'm embracing my mundane day-to-day activities of everyday life, and saying prayer and sending all my love to the people of Japan... and donating too...

There is one story that came out of Japan, among the countless stories of horror and heartbreak, there is one story that makes my heart happy. The story of a little baby found alive and reunited with her family.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Drunk Ass

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

I love LOVE LOVE Mardi Gras!!! And I'm so sad that I'm not in NOLA this year for it! It is my all time favorite holiday... I wish that Mardi Gras was a national holiday... In Louisiana, kids get a WEEK off of school and everyone wears costumes...

I love costumes... I guess I'm a NOLA gal at heart. All of the Mardi Gras parades are amazing, but my very favorite day is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras day, when everyone wears beautiful, elaborate costumes and everyone is so happy that the atmosphere is ELECTRIC... Everyone passing you on the street yells "Happy Mardi Gras!" or "Happy Carnival!"... it's an amazing experience to be in the French Quarter that day. It's electric!

I was not at Mardi Gras this year. I was instead, getting ready to fly to Orlando with a 16 month old to visit my bestfriend. I am so excited to see her and for the trip, but I was freaking out about flying with a busy toddler by myself... I just got an iPad and spent all of last night learning how to download shows and movies... I downloaded a bunch of Dora the Explorers and Backyardigans, and apps to keep little ones busy ... but I'm just learning how to use the iPad and at times it was so frustrating I wanted to cry and throw it! Throw it across the room/ in the trash... I didn't care.... I just hated the iPad last night.

I think part of my problem is that I've never had an iPhone, and have rarely used my iPod, so this was all new territory for me. I stayed up until 2 am trying to figure everything out....

So, last night I had stress-induced Mardi Gras dreams:

I dreamed that I was playing the keyboard (yes... I had a gig... at a hotel...) and I was missing the Mardi Gras celebration. But then, after my gig, I left the keyboard with the front desk and walked towards the action.

All of these people were greeting me, "Hi Ryann, Happy Mardi Gras!" They knew me, but I didn't recognize them, but I pretended to anyway... I thought I had Prosopagnosia the same disorder that my sister called, excitedly the other day, to tell us she has: Prosopagnosia (look it up, yo!) ...and yes, she really does think she has this... and if I've ever not remembered you, maybe I have it too...

Then, someone gave me a donkey to ride. So I was riding a donkey in the post-Mardi Gras crowd, when a girl gave my donkey a bucket of beer.... My donkey drank it, and got so drunk that he passed out... In the middle of the road.

So, of course (in my dream), I wanted to take a picture with my phone and upload it to Facebook with the caption: "My drunk ass at Mardi Gras!"

Get it?! Drunk ass/donkey??

I'm so slightly funny (or punny - haha) in my dreams...

Anyways, I could not get the phone to take a picture... and if it did take, I couldn't get it to upload to Facebook... very similar to my frustration with the iPad last night...

But don't worry: There was no drunk ass at Mardi Gras... at least, no ass of mine!


By the way:
Thank GOD the iPad was created .... it is an AMAZING way to keep my toddler happy on a long plane ride!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I bought these really cool recycled tin letters online for the little guy's room.

Out of all of the words I could have chose from: Peace, Smile, Dream, Hope, Live, Love and Imagine, I chose imagine. It reminded me of the John Lennon song and I thought it would be perfect for him to wake up and see the word "Imagine" everyday.

Of course, I chose the word with the most letters!!! SEVEN INDIVIDUAL LETTERS... and you have to hang each letter with screws, on the wall... And some letters have a hole for one screw in the back and some have two... How the hell am I gonna do this without going crazy?!

When I opened the package, I laid out the letters on the dinning room table, and just getting them even and straight took at least 10 minutes... but I wasn't even trying to hang them...

So, I found a piece of wood outside.... I think what I might do is paint this wood, and then glue the letters on the wood and then just hang the piece of wood... That sounds easier... I think...

But now I'm trying to figure out, what color to paint the wood and what type of glue to use..... I'm imagining all of the possibilities...

Here's what they look like laid out on the scrap wood:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Year's reality checks

Okay... So...

I made resolutions this year. I had a goal... or goals...

My first goal/resolution was to be, think and speak more positively. I think in the last 3 years, I've developed a pretty negative inner dialogue, and I don't want to become a bitter person... so this year's goal was to get out of the negativity and negative thinking! So far, I think I'm doing alright... (notice the positive tone :))

My second goal is to get back into art.

This is where I'm having a problem.

I promised myself that I would start a painting by the end of January... That didn't happen.... I stared and stared at a blank canvas... But I wasn't staring at a blank canvas sitting in front of me... the blank canvas is tucked away between the chest of drawers and the wall of my bedroom. But I know it's there... and it's the one I'm going to paint on.... eventually. I hope.

AH! Artist's block!

I haven't painted anything since the baby was born... 15 months ago!

People say having a baby should be creatively inspiring... but I feel like I used up all of my creative juices growing him, and then taking care of him... and now chasing him... After he goes to bed, and I'm done cleaning up the toddler mess, I would much rather veg out on the couch with a glass of wine and watch the Jersey Shore than get out paints and start trying to be creative...

So, I bought a camera. A big bad SLR camera... well, not the baddest, but the entry model of the baddest: a Nikon 3100. I had these delusions of skipping around with my awesome new camera, taking amazing, artistic shots of the world around me... taking amazing, artistic and creative shots of my toddler... but (reality check) that's not happening either.

I'm learning how to use my camera. And I'm also learning that it's impossible to set up a shot, and adjust the settings on my camera all while chasing a really fast toddler.

I guess the artsy stuff will come later... until then, I will enjoy the Jersey Shore, and Photoshop will be my best friend.

This is my most "artsy" shot to date (and I don't think this really "counts"):

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I'm not sure when that knot in my stomach, that pain in my chest will go away. It's been almost three years and when I think of C or look at pictures or hear his voice that pain, that kind of pain that hurts so deep, the kind that takes away my breath, comes back.

Maybe it's the time of year. Maybe it's the nearing of the anniversary. Maybe it's hormones. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's lack of sleep. Maybe I'm not as good at the grief thing as I thought. Maybe it'll go away. Maybe it'll never ever go away. Maybe...

I try to stay focused on the present and future... and look back on the past with love. But some times the pain sneaks in. I don't always feel like this. But I have been for the last week or so. I'm sad. I miss Carter and it physically hurts to miss him.

I'm blessed in so many other ways. I know that. I'm blessed to have a partner who understands, who has been there for me, who I trust and love. I'm blessed that son makes me smile and laugh everyday and makes my heart smile.

I don't know why I felt like sharing this tonight. But I did... and now I feel a little bit better.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A year flies by...

One year in 120 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

It's amazing how fast a year goes by.

Life was completely different a year ago... I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, where to move, what to do next... and now I'm in Austin, with a bundle of joy, and I'm focused on the future, for him... for us.

I still have a lot to figure out... but I think that is an issue that will never totally go away.... I hope it never does.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I will blog again... but taking a break for now.

So, it looks like I've abandoned this blog. I haven't.

But, I haven't been feeling all that great... I haven't wanted to paint, because that would mean me sitting on the floor.... and I'm 9 months pregnant and that is the last thing I want to do... and I don't want to blog and sound like Debbie Downer... I'd rather wait until I'm on a creative binge again. Soooo, I'm taking a break.

I'm not sure for how long. But, I will be back and blogging soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Show Tomorrow!


I'm in Dallas. The opening reception for the show is tomorrow!

Here are the details:

Date: Thursday, August 20, 2009
Time: 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Magnolia Theatre, upstairs
Address: 3699 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX
check for updates and pictures.

The show runs from August 20th - September 23rd.

I've been moving and haven't had an internet connection.... and haven't made time to blog... but I've gotten a lot of work done since the last time I blogged.

I've changed several of the pieces significantly and I now have 8 pieces on wood, plus the 4 silhouettes on canvas.

I'm actually happy with the work, and it looks great up on the walls! Thanks to Scott and Nicole Horn at Magnolia!!!